Over the years I’ve travelled solo and I’ve travelled with friends, both carrying with them their fair share of pros and cons. But with this in mind you would think that one of the many benefits of travelling with a friend, would be that there is someone to help you plan where to go next and how to get there…atleast that’s what I thought, until I spent a year travelling with my pal Sam.
It’s always been in my nature to be the ‘organiser’ and ‘researcher’ in the group when it comes to holidays etc.… so I didn’t actually notice any problems until we physically touched down in Asia and we had to navigate round.
Now I understand there are different languages to get used to, strange names for things and places and all that other stuff that comes along with visiting a new country… but this was SOMETHING ELSE.
The girl never ever knew where we were going, how we were getting there, where we were staying or what we were there to see.
On a daily basis our conversation would go a little something like this….
Sam: ‘Christina what’s the name of this town?’
Me: ‘Arugam Bay’ (repeat name 5 times)
Sam : Ah ok got it!
Random Stranger we meet a few days later: ‘Where have you guys just come from?’
Sam: ‘Aura Beach…. Its SOOOO nice there, you have to go’
I also remember a time she was entrusted with booking us some coach tickets to Bath, and she had booked the journey the wrong way round.Cue us In the bus station looking for our 09:30 coach from London to Bath that just didn’t exist.
There are plenty more examples I could give you but we would litterally be here all day.
Now, I can’t just poke fun at Sam, I recently went on a European city break with my friend George, who too, had no idea where we were. Picture telling him that were off to Vienna and him responding with a ‘Yeah can’t wait to go Vienna, imagine if we get really drunk one night and end up in another country… Like Austria’. I mean SERIOUSLY?
The 2 numpties I have to deal with
So if you have ‘Special’ pals like mine, here’s a 3 step guide on how to get through it.
Step 1: Take on the role of Personal Assistant
Come to terms with the fact that you will ALWAYS have to do all of the organising. This means that all travel, accommodation and trip and tour bookings will be your responsibility. You effectively have to be your friends PA and unfortunately you won’t be getting paid for it. But let’s face it if you left it up to them you would probably end up with a hotel booked in Borneo, when you only wanted to go to Belgium for the weekend.
Step 2: Have Patience
When you’re constantly getting asked where you are, patience is your best friend. Politely repeat the name of the place until your friend is satisfied they have it in their head (you know deep down they don’t, but as long as they are happy).
I’d say the main trick here to prevent yourself from biting their head off,after they have asked you for the 11th time, is to pretend your friend is a three-year-old child who is asking ‘Why’ at absolutely everything…you’ll find it easier to remain calm and collected.
Step 3: Let them have it
If your friend is reliving a travel anecdote and they name a place of somewhere you visited (and have got it wrong), it’s just sometimes better to let them have it, rather than correcting them (unless of course, they ask you to).
Most people won’t even realise that what they have said is essentially a made up town, and chances are, whatever they have named, there is probably one of them SOMEWHERE in the world, just not in the Country that they are talking about.
Disclaimer: I don’t actually think my friends are stupid. All in jest INIT!